A PR exercise by discount store Poundstretcher has backfired, with customers furious about bargain vacuum cleaners that don't work.
When the chain opened a new store in Sheerness, Kent, on Friday, it promised that the five customers who were first through the doors could pick up a £280 cordless Hoover for just £15.
See also: Pound shops: are they always a bargain?
Some customers queued through the night - up to six and a half hours - in freezing temperatures to get their hands on one.
However, it has now emerged that the vacuum cleaners may not have been such a bargain after all, with the five 'lucky' customers all discovering that they don't work.
Despite charging the devices for 12 hours before use, as the instructions specified, the vacuum cleaners failed to turn on. While there's no explanation as to why, it seems possible that the rechargeable batteries failed after a long period without use.
"I took the Hoover back on Saturday as it did not work. I have now found out that none of them worked and all five have been returned," David Hollamby tells Kent Online.
"All I've been told was to leave my name and address and they would get back to me next week some time."
Other dissatisfied customers were told that the store would have to contact the company's head office, and that it could be a week before they got a response.
Legally, when a product doesn't work, it's the retailer that's responsible for sorting things out, rather than the manufacturer. Customers should be offered a replacement, a repair or a refund for an item that's unfit for purpose.
In this case, a refund might well not satisfy customers who spent hours queuing for the £15 appliance.
Poundstretcher is distancing itself from the problem, saying that Hoover has agreed to sort out.
"We have been in contact with the manufacturer who has confirmed that they will be dealing directly with the customers to resolve the situation satisfactorily," it says.
Disappointed customers can call Hoover's customer service department on 0344 4995599.